If you’ve followed my blog you will know people try to steal my articles all the time. It happens to all bloggers, unless they are unpopular or rubbish. You don’t really have to look for it, because your readers will spot it and tell you. 🙂
Some things to remember about this stuff…
All material published on the internet has an implicit copyright, even if there is no explicit copyright notice on the site. This means, unless the copyright owner gives you explicit permission, republishing their content is an act of theft. When you are writing, make sure you are doing the work, not stealing other people’s work.
Google actively downgrades the search rankings of duplicate content. They know who published the content first. By stealing the content you haven’t really done yourself any favours and you’ve broken the law. Way to go!
If you find someone is stealing your content, you have options. All blogging platforms and hosting providers are duty bound to follow up on copyright theft claims. If they ignore it, they can be deemed culpable. You should:
- Contact the owner of the blog and politely ask them to remove the content.
- If they don’t do it in a timely manner, issue a DMCA (or geographical equivalent) takedown notice to their hosting company. Hosting companies get really twitchy about them, and tend to react really quickly.
There are movements like Copyleft and Creative Commons, where people actively encourage redistribution, but even then you have to follow the rules. It’s not a golden ticket to do anything you want with the content. The content producer still reserves some rights. Remember, unless explicitly stated differently, the default stance is the material on the internet is copyright, not copyleft!
Be careful about RSS feeds. Some people consider an RSS feed as giving people the right to republish your content. That is exactly what RSS aggregators do. I would suggest you limit your RSS content to excerpts. In WordPress that would be “Settings > Reading”, then pick the “Excerpt” option. That way you give people a taste of the content, without showing them everything.
Check out the rest of the series here.